Hundreds of people took a sneak peek Monday evening at North Thurston Public Schools’ newest gem: Salish Middle School in Lacey.
“It’s beautiful,” said Brooklyn Hunter, who will be a seventh-grader when the school at 8605 Campus Glen Drive NE opens this fall. “And it’s really big.”
Construction on the two-story, 109,000-square-foot school is ahead of schedule and comfortably below the budget of $48 million, said Mike Laverty, North Thurston director of construction and design.
“It was originally scheduled to be done in August,” he said.
The Hawks Prairie school was built to help accommodate growth in the nearly 14,700-student district, officials say. North Thurston’s other comprehensive middle schools are Chinook, Nisqually and Komachin. The district also runs Aspire Middle School for the Performing Arts.
The school’s construction is being paid for with money from the district’s $175 million bond measure that voters approved in February 2014. It also will pay for upgrades at North Thurston High School and Evergreen Forest Elementary School and other capital improvements throughout the district.
Salish was built on 19 acres in the Meridian Campus development and features a baseball field, an athletic track, and a multipurpose field for football and soccer.
The school was designed by BCRA Architects of Tacoma and built by BNCC of Steilacoom. It was built for as many as 750 students in grades 6-8. Students from Meadows, Olympic View and Lacey elementary schools generally will attend Salish.
The building’s “X” shape helps make the most of outdoor lighting and gives staff members extra visibility for safety, Laverty said.
Monday’s event was the first chance families had to look inside the school.
“We just wanted to see what she will be coming into at this school,” said parent Rachel Garnett. “We wanted to get the feel of everything.”
It was the first chance for many of the school’s teachers and staff members to check it out, too.
“I think they’re just as excited as the students,” said office manager Debi Mills.
“They can’t wait.”